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Steve Sarkisian had 'all intentions' of playing Arch Manning in Week 1, cites quick quarter for not

On3-Social-Profile_GRAYby:On3 Staff Report09/07/23

Highly regarded Texas freshman quarterback Arch Manning nearly made his debut in a game against Rice, but the new clock rules might have ruined his opportunity.

As coach Steve Sarkisian explained on Thursday, the opportunity disappeared in a hurry.

“Quite frankly I had all intentions of playing Arch in that game,” Sarkisian said. “I didn’t think that the fourth quarter would go as fast as it did, and then I didn’t want to put him in there for the last minute and a half and use a game on that.”

Players are able to appear in four games before they burn a redshirt, which is what Sarkisian was referring to by not wanting to use a game. By keeping Manning from playing against Rice, he can still make four more appearances while redshirting.

From the sound of it, though, the Longhorns certainly want to see what the freshman can do.

Manning was the most highly ranked player in his class, the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2023 cycle. That alone would be enough to draw significant interest. But he’s also the grandson of Archie Manning and the nephew of NFL greats Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, adding further to his aura.

In any case, Sarkisian expects other opportunities to arise in the future for both Manning and backup quarterback Maalik Murphy.

“Those guys continue to work hard and compete at it,” he said. “Hopefully as the season goes on they’ll both get their opportunities to get in there and play.”

While Arch Manning didn’t play in the opener, Murphy did get a couple opportunities to show what he could do. He went 3-of-5 passing for 40 yards in the contest, leading to one missed field goal and a punt.

Texas is unlikely to get to play either quarterback much this weekend, with a tough road test on tap for Alabama.

However, while the Longhorns aren’t likely to voluntarily move away from starting quarterback Quinn Ewers, their hand was forced a year ago in this very same game due to injury. Then, Hudson Card nearly led the Longhorns to an upset of the Crimson Tide after being forced into action.

With Ewers returning to Texas and Manning arriving, Card transferred to Purdue this offseason.